Board members and parents express concerns with JCPS leadership - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Board members and parents express concerns with JCPS leadership after state audit ordered

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Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -

Kentucky's education chief is going after JCPS leadership, calling for an "unprecedented" audit of the school system. 

And it could lead to a state takeover of the district. 

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt released an eight-page report Tuesday, listing nearly three dozen concerns. Board members and parents call it disturbing.

"It was a very sobering letter," Linda Duncan said. "I was surprised at the number of issues it addressed that we really had not been aware of and had not talked about."

The letter from the state detailed 32 findings concerning student safety, poor culture and communication at JCPS.

"We know that if things are not happening the way they should be happening, we have to hold the superintendent accountable," Duncan said.

"The findings identified by the commissioner support my belief that a change in leadership at JCPS is needed," board member Steph Horne said. 

"We will trust this process, and we will continue to grow as a district," JCPS superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said.

Hargens said she appreciates the state's review, promising to work "proactively" with the district. 

"I want to say how proud I am to be the superintendent of the Jefferson County Public School System," she said.

"I have lost confidence in Dr. Hargens, and I hope the board is looking into that," said JCPS parent Rob Mattheu, who calls the audit "alarming." 

"JCPS for too long has swept problems under the rug, ignored problems or ignored the outcry."

Mattheu said he fears a potential state takeover, but hopes this is a wake-up call for real change in the district.

"It's hard for me as a parent to say no, it's really a good system, when all you hear are legitimate stories of kids getting injured, teachers getting injured, schools that are failing," he said.

Gov. Matt Bevin supports the audit and tweeted the following statement: 

The audit will start within the next month. Officials said they won't just look at individual leadership, but take a "comprehensive look at the entire district."

It's expected to take 10 to 14 days to complete.

Related Stories:

Kentucky education chief orders 'unprecedented' management audit of JCPS

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